A group of humpback whales reportedly made a “wrong turn” and ended up in a crocodile-infested river in Australia.

The giant mammals ended up in the East Alligator River in Kakadu National Park in Australia’s Northern Territory. In a statement released on Sept. 11, the National Park said that three humpback whales had entered the river. “As far as we’re aware, this is the first time this has happened,” officials said, in the statement.

“Wow! #Humpback #whales in #Kakadu National Park, #Australia! To my knowledge, this is an absolute first!,” tweeted Sydney-based wildlife scientists Dr. Vanessa Pirotta. “Hopefully they will make their way out and head back south to #Antarctica.”


Kakadu National Park said that, as of Sept. 10, it appeared that only one whale remained in the river. Officials set up an exclusion zone from the mouth of the river to 18.6 miles upstream for the safety of the whale and people traveling by boat. “The last thing we want is a collision between a boat and whale in waters where crocodiles are prevalent and visibility underwater is zero,” they said. “We also don’t want boats to inadvertently force the whale further up the river.”

Citing experts, the BBC reports that the whales “took a wrong turn” during an annual sea migration.

“The whale is not in distress at the moment and it is not an emergency situation,” said Kakadu National Park. “The best case scenario is for the whale to make its way back out to sea. Kakadu National Park and NT [Northern Territory] Government scientists will continue to monitor the whale in the coming days.”


There are two main populations of humpback whales in Australian waters that migrate along the country’s east and west coasts, according to the Northern Territory Government.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers